When our oldest children were babies and toddlers, their time at church was spent in the church nursery. I actively participated as a nursery volunteer and at times even served as nursery director. As our children grew older and more children were added to our family, out thoughts on children’s programs, nursery, and worship changed.
We came to believe that instead of nursery or children’s church that being beside us in worship was where our children needed to be. While it would be lovely if I could say that my children were perfectly behaved, well, it would be beyond misleading. I have spent many Sundays stepping out of the sanctuary with a little one who was fussy, or tired, or loud, or squirmy. In all honesty, I thought one of my children may never grow into the ability to sit through a worship service.
There were some Sundays when I spent very little time in the worship service. I suppose you could stand up and say that this is exactly why nursery and children’s church is needed. And I wholeheartedly disagree. We step out and we go back in. Because worship is important. And our children realizing and understanding how important it is makes it worth every trip in and out of the sanctuary. Every Sunday bouncing a baby in the back. Every pencil and piece of paper shoved in my bag for my little ones to “take notes” on.
A writer I am not. I frequently struggle to find the right words to express myself. This is why I love this article, Should Children Sit Through Big Church by John Piper. He says so well what I wish I could convey. The Family: Together in God’s Presence was written by John and Noel Piper in 1995 but is an excellent article with practical advice.
While I am still dealing with a squirmy two year old on Sunday mornings, I also get to see what is on the other side. I see my teens engaged, taking notes, commenting on sermons, and recognizing good, solid, biblical teaching. I see my younger children singing, listening, soaking in the scripture from the pulpit. And there is nothing more beautiful than seeing my family, together, in worship. Beautiful, indeed.